By E.A. Barrera
Angel Romero - the Music Director of the Orquesta de Baja California (OBC) and a frequent conductor of the San Diego Symphony - has been named the “Artist-in-Residence” by the California Center for the Arts in Escondido (CCAE). Romero is the first person ever granted this distinction and he will serve as CCAE’s artist-in-residence through the end of the 2007 season.
“Maestro Romero is an artist of legendary stature. He is known worldwide for his exceptional artistry as both a member of The Romeros guitar quartet, as a solo artist and now as Music Director of the OBC and a guest conductor of orchestras throughout the world,” said Vicky Basehore, President and COO of The Center. “Audiences that have attended his concerts have experienced his very passionate and charismatic music-making. We can’t wait to bring his exciting, spirited and collaborative approach to our Concert Hall stage. We are grateful to Maestro Romero for his support of The Center as he helps us achieve a new level of artistic presentation. We will be working with the Maestro on expanding his involvement in our performing arts season as well as to later announce an educational component as part of his residency.”
Born in Malaga, Spain, Romero moved to California with his family in 1957 to escape the fascist government of Francisco Franco. Romero made his professional debut at the age of 6 and his American debut at the Hollywood Bowl when he was 16. He toured the world with his father Celedonio and his two brothers, Celin and Pepe - performing classical and Flamenco guitar music. Angel Romero left his family’s group for a solo career in 1990 and in 1991, he gave the world premiere performance of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Rincones de España” at New York’s Lincoln Center.
“Romero is noteworthy for the breadth of his musical activities,” noted Classical Music Historian James Manheim.
Hailed as a Spanish maestro of the guitar, Romero is considered the heir apparent to Andres Segovia.
“He is the living Segovia of today. People know his name,” said Edward Polochick, Lincoln Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor.
Romero performs throughout the world and has appeared as a recitalist and a soloist with such leading orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, and the Royal Concertgebouw.
“Having studied under the baton of Eugene Ormandy, Romero has conducted major orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, with which he has recorded his CD of Vivaldi Concertos as guitarist and conductor,” noted Manheim. “His driving intensity and flawless control mark him as a true master.
Named music director for the Orquesta de Baja California in 2004, Romero now leads one of Mexico’s most prestigious musical institutions. Housed at the Tijuana Cultural Center, the OBC was founded in 1990 by Maestros Juan Eche-verría and Eduardo García Barrios.
“The OBC is well known as an ensemble of soloists who perform music of every kind, from the baroque to the modern music of our times, in every combination and style from chamber music to full-fledged symphonic compositions. It pays particular attention to the works of musicians and composers from Northwestern Mexico and the works of Mexican-American composers, as well as other Hispanic composers. Its repertoire also includes contemporary music from a variety of regions, expressly composed for this virtuoso ensemble,” noted Basehore.
The OBC’s tours have taken it to a wide variety of places in Mexico and the United States. In the United States the ensemble has performed in such venues as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Copley Hall, in San Diego. In 2001 the Orquesta de Baja California was nominated for Best Classical Album category in the 2nd Annual Latin Grammy Awards for its CD release: Tango Mata Danzón Mata Tango. This CD also won the award for “Best Album of 2001” granted by the Music and Theater Critics’ Union in Mexico City.
Romero has worked with a number of Hollywood studios - creating the scores for such films as Robert Redford’s 1989 “The Milagro Bean Field War,” and Gabriele Retes’ 1994 film “Bienvenido.” For his work on “Bienvenido” Romero won the 1995 ARIEL (Mexico’s Academy Award ) in the category of music written originally for film.
He also performed and recorded the entire score for the film “By The Sword”, which was composed by Oscar winner Bill Conti; and played a cameo role in the Talor Hackford film “Bound by Honor.”
Romero has played for numerous world leaders including his global telecast 1992 appearance in the United Nations General Assembly Hall with the National Orchestra of Spain under the baton of Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. The performance was by invitation of then Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to promote world peace and to celebrate the 500 th Anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.
In January of 2000, he conducted and performed as guitar soloist on three performances of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra’s series and was featured with the University of Southern California Thornton Chamber Orchestra in a special concert honoring the Romeros.
“The fall of 2002 brought Angel to Singapore to perform with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, to London to perform with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as guest conductor and back to San Diego to conduct and perform with the San Diego Symphony,” noted Manheim.
For more information on the Orquesta de Baja California’s 2005/06 season at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, please call The CCAE at 800-988-4253.